Voice-Data Network Solution Bandwidth & Cost

By: Michael Lemm

When you are deciding on a voice/data network solution for your business the obvious factors to take into consideration are bandwidth and cost. However if you base your entire solution on those factors alone you risk facing issues you could have easily prevented with just a bit more strategic thought and planning.

The article "Why Do Businesses Prefer T1 And T3 Bandwidth Connections" is a good attempt at addressing the business issues involved with the decision making process for a small or medium business with limited telecommunications / network connectivity needs.

But that is just a start.

For businesses, with more than rudimentary network connectivity needs, there really is much much more involved in driving these kinds of decisions. Also, there are several more technology options beyond T1/T3 (aka DS1/DS3) and xDSL. It's also important to understand that Bandwidth and cost, while important, are rarely the only drivers of solutions in this space.

The driver for solutions here is business problems.

What does your business need?

High volume public and/or private network throughput? Robust Availability with Substantial SLA (Service Level Agreement) guarantees? International reach? Flexibility? Cost Effectiveness? Consistent product/feature availability within a given geographic region? etc.

If a business' telecommunications needs are:

5 or less locations with Email, Web surfing and ~20 phones lines or less....than xDSL, Cable or a Mixed Services (integrated) Local DS1 are all on the table as options.

For larger businesses that may have a need for private connectivity between branch locations, to maintain a call center, host internet or external partner facing servers, or in anyway depend on network connectivity as part of their revenue stream...... xDSL or Cable are rarely options.

Businesses in this category need the reliability and "known quantity" of telco services, that tend to leverage DS1, DS3, OC3/12 etc as local access, as a component of availability of their larger solution. Additionally Metro Optical and Ethernet solutions, where available, are increasingly more cost effective and flexible alternatives to copper and SONET based local access services.

The bottom line when working through a decision on a voice/data network for your business is to look beyond just bandwidth and cost. You must also consider the requirements and impact for your existing AND future applications, infrastructure, volume, network stability, security/privacy, partner/customer interface, and supplier connectivity. Ensuring all these factors are considered will ensure your solution addresses all possible business requirements....... and prevents the potential for embarrasing or frustrating issues in the future.

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